The management of children and young people with an acute decrease in conscious level

NICE Accredited

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health - RCPCH
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH)
Publication date:
01 April 2015


Decreased conscious level can be considered an acute neurological emergency characterised by significant brain impairment, necessitating a rapid and methodical approach to evaluation and treatment. Regardless of the underlying cause, a decreased conscious level indicates a primary insult to the brain which, if left untreated, could rapidly progress to secondary damage leading to significant morbidity or even death.  

The aim of the Guideline is to give clinicians working acutely a framework to aid the timely and safe care of children and young people presenting with a decreased conscious level of unknown cause.

Consistent with the previous Guideline, this Guideline emphasises the importance of managing this condition in a standard manner from first presentation to health services, to ensure the best outcome for patients and their families.